Stepping up

Stepping up

One of the most crippling fears in life is stepping out of the old and into the new. Faced with the choice many will choose to stay in familiar territory because it feels safe and has become part of their identity. As humans we are very invested in our identities and we will go to great lengths to preserve them. The mere thought of stepping out of a comfort zone can catapult us into chaos.  But here’s what I know after years of exploring and surrendering what no longer served me:

Staying stuck comes with a bitter taste and a gnawing feeling that won’t go away. It leads to emotions such as anger and resentment, affects energy levels and generally lowers our quality of life. Because here’s the thing – we’re here to grow. Here to step up and be all we can be, and deep down we know this. We know our salvation lies in reality, not illusion.

Now, more than ever before, the world needs change makers and it’s our responsibility to do the work and show up. If we don’t, we’ll be haunted by the shadow of what if. 

As Marianne Williamson says so perfectly in her quote:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of [The universe]. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of [The Universe] that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’

It can be frightening to step up. But it is helpful to remember that life can only ever be lived in the moment. So stepping up is a moment to moment thing. One choice followed by another, and then another. All it takes is for us to send some kindness within and ask the question:

‘What do I need to do right now?’

The more we do this the more we realise that the fear that seems so real is just a story we have created based on something that happened in the past, or that we have projected into the future.

Stepping up is our destiny – so what is your heart calling you to do right now? 

Interview for ‘Never Ever Give Up Hope’

Recently I was interviewed by Carol Graham for her inspirational show ‘Never Ever Give Up Hope’

In the interview I talk about my journey through anorexia, depression, and alcohol abuse and how writing helped me to discover there was a whole and complete ‘me’ underneath the thinking that told me there was not. I hope it will help and inspire others who may be going through similar journeys X

To listen click HERE go to the bottom of the page, and click the green arrow under the book link. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

 

Your precious life

Your precious life

I have been mulling over this post for some time now and this morning the message became clear. A few years ago the brother of a good friend of mine took his own life. He was young, newly married, and the world was his oyster. On the anniversary of his death, a couple of weeks ago, I felt my heart well up as I read the messages on his timeline. People still mourning his passing, and thinking of him.

It is so desperately tragic when people reach a place where they feel the only option is to end their life. Northern Ireland, according to the BBC, has the highest rate of suicide in the UK, and there are many reasons for this. But I don’t want this post to be an analysis of the reasons; I want this post to be a direct message to people who feel down. Who feel afraid, and who feel their mental health is out of control. I write this post for you.

Many years ago, in a dark and lonely place, I tried to end my life. I was twenty three years old, and I had my whole life ahead of me. There were many reasons behind it, addiction, depression and anxiety being some of them. Living through a violent time in my home country Zimbabwe played a large part as well, and there was more.

For a long time I fought the demons within. But I reached a point where I started to believe the world would be a better place without me in it.

I remember it all clearly now, the thinking that lead to it, and what I did. I also remember what happened next, waking up in hospital alive.

I remember the thick black cloud of self loathing and despair that threatened to drown me, as I realised I had failed to do the one final thing, I thought would set me and those I loved free.

For a few days that cloud surrounded me. I felt lifeless, worthless, and empty. I couldn’t see past the next moment.

But then something happened. I heard a voice within me say ‘there is a reason you didn’t die.’

Something about that voice, that thought from somewhere other than the black cloud, gave me hope. Hope started me on the journey to recovery, a journey that took time, courage and faith. On that journey I Iearnt to love myself again. I learnt that I had worth, that my life was precious, and that I had something to offer. I learnt that I was stronger than I thought I was, and that no matter how dark life looked, there was always light.

What I have come to know is that no matter how bad things are, there IS A WAY THROUGH.

My message to you is a message of hope. It is also a message that you are not alone. That space, in which despair encircles you, is often one in which a voice screams to us ‘no one understands.’ But many of us do understand, and can help.

Your life is precious; you are love and you are loved. You are beautiful, unique and amazing. If you are struggling, reach out. People that can help are waiting to take your hand. 

Healing the heart and forgiving the past

Healing the heart and forgiving the past

I felt really inspired to write this post today as I have had a few conversations with people lately about how to release emotional wounds, forgive, and heal.

It’s a topic I know a lot about! For many years I held onto wounds. Part of me believed that if I let them go I was saying what happened was OK. Also there was a part of me who had come to see the wound as part of my identity.

But is it the truth? I have come to see that it isn’t.

Let’s go back to the first bit though – believing that if we forgive and let it go then we are saying it was OK.

Things happen in life, things that we perceive as painful. They happen to all of us and it’s completely normal to feel the hurt and pain for a while. But holding onto it is optional. We hold onto it through our thinking and this in turn creates our feelings around it. We each live in separate realities created by our thinking. If we are holding on to feelings of hurt, anger or betrayal – we are only hurting ourselves. The person in the past we believe was responsible has no idea what our reality looks like. So whether we forgive or whether we hold on only affects us.

Forgiving doesn’t mean we are saying it was OK. It simply means we are choosing not to hold on to what happened and see it as part of who we are now.

You see holding on in some way also says that we believe a part of our self is wrong too, for attracting the circumstances in the first place. But that’s not the truth at all.

Which kind of brings me to the next part – sometimes we hold on because we have come to see our wounds as part of who we are. I did – I held on to memories about things that happened when I was a young child at school that I thought had damaged me for life! But seeing through that illusion set me free!

I realised that the only thing that ever keeps wounds and hurt alive is our personal thinking about them and that is optional.

I read an incredibly moving book called ‘Left to Tell’ by Immaculee Ilibageza, a survivor of the Rwandan Holocaust of 1994. She tells of how she came to forgive the person who had murdered her family. In her words she said in an interview ‘the state of mind that they have, I don’t have, and I don’t have to hate them to find justice’

I think sometimes we can believe that we are somehow punishing the people that hurt us by not letting it go – the reality is that we only punish ourselves.

Life is short. Too short to stay in the space of sadness and pain. Let it flow through you and let it go. Don’t deny it as it happens though – allow it to be and honor you feelings, but don’t choose to make it what you are. Let it be followed by the realisation of who you really are. A being of incredible resiliency, wisdom and love – free to be free whenever you choose.

Riding the waves

Riding the waves

The world we live in today, well certainly the western world, puts a lot of emphasis on happiness and positive thinking. Look at the media – it’s all about ‘get this and feel this!!’ There are a phenomenal number of people on anti depressants, it’s as though there is a deep seated fear of feeling low.

As someone who has suffered from severe clinical depression I know only too well how frightening it can be to be in that space. I know how easy it is to panic, to think there is something really wrong with you, and to rush for anything that will give relief from the crazy inner world that now engulfs you. But now that I have reached a place within where I really understand what feelings of depression are telling me, I no longer fear it.

When I wrote my book, Fear to Love, I wrote of an inner journey I went through in which I reconnected with a beautiful space within that I have come to call home. But I still have down days. I still have feelings of depression. The difference now is that I don’t identify with them. They are not who I really am they are just a symptom that my thinking is off course. In the past I might have then tried to change the thinking in order to feel better. Now, I know that the most powerful and effective action I can take is to simply accept. To allow myself to sink right into the sad, low, unhappy feelings and just be. Sometimes I’ll have a cry. Spend time alone in nature. I do whatever I feel I need to do in that moment for me.

And what I have come to see in doing this is that soon enough the feeling changes. The thoughts change and before I know it I’m back to my happy self. You see our inner world is not structured. It’s free flowing, multidimensional. There are highs, there are lows, and there is everything in between – and them some! Believe me; I know it!

But I have come to love all that about me. I don’t beat myself up for it anymore. I don’t worry that perhaps I’ll end up ‘depressed’ like I used to be. I know underneath it all I’m not depressed and I never was. My default setting is peace and joy. It always has been, it always will be.

So I ride the waves. Knowing that I am human, and that experiencing all spectrums makes me who I am. I’m not afraid, I am accepting. And I see so clearly now that in my acceptance lies my freedom.

In the space where wisdom speaks

In the space where wisdom speaks

My mind quietens as I sit by the lake and gaze across the water. The gentle ripples dance; a slow sensual dance. The sunlight catches their edges and sparkles.

A pair of swans swim slowly by, their necks arched. I remember the fairy tale ‘The Wild swans’ by Hans Christian Anderson that I read as a child.

Slowly I sink deeper into the stillness within. Falling beyond the illusions of personal thinking which usually fill my mind.

I become aware of warmth in my heart, an expanding connection to the essence of life itself. As I surrender to the experience I realise that all separation has evaporated. Is it, as is my thinking, simply another illusion that has had me bound for lifetimes?

Indeed it is.

In this perfect space where I and life itself are one, there is something else. There is a presence, an invitation.

For this is the space where wisdom speaks

Answers to the questions of mankind can be heard in this space, so long as the personal mind remains silent.

All attachments fall away as I realise that everything I could possibly want is here, now. No need to grasp, chase or seek. It’s all here! It always has been; I simply did not see.

Ah, but now I do.

I see that all my worries, all my troubles exist only in my personal thinking. They are not real! This world we live in is abundant, is beautiful and yet so often I miss that as I live in my head and shut down my heart.

Oh to remain in this space for eternity – is it possible? I believe so.

However as a human I will forever dance the dance between this spiritual world and the human experience for that is what it means to be alive.